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Former Bear Shaun Gayle plans gym for E. Garlield Park

Shaun Gayle

Shaun Gayle

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Updated: August 5, 2012 6:36AM



Former Chicago Bear Shaun Gayle, in a bet that low-income East Garfield Park can support a private gym, has nailed down a deal for property in the 2800 block of West Taylor.

Gayle, who played cornerback for the 1985 champions, has applied for a zoning change that accommodates his plans. He also has secured approval to acquire city-owned land on the block.

His Twenty-Three Corp. plans to build a 25,000-square-foot, $1.3-million indoor sports center that would feature youth programs and competitive leagues. It would be attached to an existing three-story building at 2824 W. Taylor that Gayle already owns and plans to use for offices, locker rooms and meeting space.

Gayle has accomplished several apartment building rehabs, but this would be his first attempt at new construction. Documents filed with the city said he’s putting about $325,000 in equity into the project.

His deal calls for the purchase of vacant property at 2828-46 W. Taylor and 2845 W. Arthington for $108,000, which matched an appraisal. The Arthington patch would be used for parking. In a report on the project, city staff said the parcels have been vacant for more than 15 years.

FATE ON STATE: The Block 37 complex in the Loop has had well-documented trouble cutting its 70-percent vacancy rate, but now is there trouble with current tenants? Andy’s Frozen Custard, which has had a store in the pedway nearly two years, said it is closing Saturday, a day after company President Andy Kuntz promises to show up to dish out complimentary custard as a send-off.

Kuntz said “traffic was just not where it needed to be” for the Block 37 store. He said the chain’s other locations in Evanston, Bolingbrook and Oak Lawn are doing fine.

Los Angeles-based CIM Group has owned Block 37 since April. A CIM spokeswoman wouldn’t directly address the custard closure but said, “The company is currently working on a comprehensive repositioning strategy for the property which includes a merchandising plan, evaluating the tenant mix, and implementing a rebranding and property signage program that will commence this fall. “

STAY AWHILE: Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s staffers were so excited about the latest statistics for downtown hotel usage that they released them ahead of schedule. The numbers, prepared for Choose Chicago by Smith Travel Research, showed that for last month through June 23, downtown hotel occupancy was 92.3 percent, vs. 89.1 percent for June 2011. The data are usually published covering the entire month.

Maybe the mayor has plans for that added revenue from the hotel tax. The average nightly rent last month was $233.18, vs. $232.42 a year ago.

The results, however, merely continue a yearlong trend. Every month this year has been better for hotels than the same month in 2011. Even in traditionally slow January, the average occupancy rate rose by 10 percentage points.

If this news keeps up, it will bring out more proposals for new hotels, which tend to come in bunches, like bananas.

UNDER CONSTRUCTION: Work has started on the sixth Chicago-area Autumn Leaves senior housing center, which specializes in the care of those with Alzheimer’s and other forms of memory loss. The project is at 351 Lily Cache Lane in Bolingbrook.

Each of its facilities in the region is the work of Northbrook-based SAS Architects & Planners. “We designed the Chicago-area Autumn Leaves communities to be residential in character, varying the materials and elevations to fit into the neighborhoods in which they’re located,” said SAS Partner Michael Arenson.

WASTE NOT: City Hall has proposed selling 2.5 acres in the Stockyards Industrial Corridor for $504,000. The buyer, a partnership connected to Plote Construction Inc., would build a sorting and recycling center at 4011 S. Packers for contractors, builders and waste haulers. The $4 million project will create 20 full-time jobs, the mayor’s office said. City Council action is pending.

DOING THE DEALS: Chicago architecture firm Goettsch Partners won the commission to design the Grand Hyatt hotel in Bogota, Colombia. It will have 297 rooms and is due to open early in 2015. … Zeller Realty Group and CarVal Investors said they purchased 4700 N. Marine Drive for $19.3 million. The 132,000-square-foot medical office building is next to Weiss Memorial Hospital and is 49 percent leased. … US Glu-Lam Inc., a distributor of wood products, leased 70,000 square feet at 2151 Dolton Road, Calumet City, in a deal negotiated by Lee & Associates of Illinois LLC and CTK Chicago Partners. … LA Fitness has leased an old Wickes Furniture location at 825 S. Rand Road in Lake Zurich, where Principle Construction is handling demolition and construction of a parking lot. … PowerLink Electric bought a 25,000 square foot building at 400 Corporate Woods, Vernon Hills. Paine/Wetzel/TCN Worldwide handled the sale. … L.J. Sheridan & Co. represented Wintrust Mortgage in its lease of almost 10,000 square feet at 1011 Warrenville Road, Lisle.

David Roeder reports on real estate at 6:22 p.m. Thursdays on Newsradio 780 and 105.9 FM WBBM. The reports are repeated at 10:22 p.m. Thursday and 7:22 a.m. Sunday.



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